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Call for a Minister for Circular Economy

Within the circular economy framework recycling is low on the list of priorities. Nevertheless, right now in many cases it’s the best option we have, and over time it will remain one of the components if for no other reason than recycling is a means to an end, to ensure the other aspects of circular economic practice are utilised.

In this article: Let’s turbocharge recycling with a circular approach to policyAustralian Council of Recycling, CEO, Suzanne Toumbourou (Sustainability Mattters, Thursday, 07 April, 2022) presents the case for speeding up the process.   She writes: 

As an integral part of the Circular Economy, the recycling industry operates across homes, businesses, factories and construction sites, generating over $15 billion in value to the Australian economy.

The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) has outlined a set of measurable, deliverable and beneficial initiatives that together form a roadmap to strengthen the circular economy for generations to come.

The four key policy measures include:

  1. A national alignment between environmental policies and circular economy principles.
  2. Support for strong end markets for recycled material.
  3. Aligning and extending producer responsibility for products brought into the Australian market.
  4. An education initiative to engage consumers in ‘recycling right’.

As the first country in the world to ban the export of waste plastic, it was essential that Australia moved early in prioritising its onshore recycling capacity and the RMF has been essential to this endeavour.

Australia should be pursuing another world first — the appointment of a Minister for Resource Recovery and the Circular Economy. It makes perfect policy sense to create a new ministerial role that can work across all these relevant portfolios to drive a whole-of-government approach to circular economy outcomes, including product stewardship, sustainable procurement, resource recovery, recycling and remanufacturing.

As the joint largest infrastructure client and major procurer of goods in Australia, our federal, state and territory governments have been slow to deliver on their pledge to prioritise recycled materials in their procurement processes. Now is the time to really make the recycled rubber hit the road!

The full story is at this link: Let’s turbocharge recycling with a circular approach to policy